It is God who enables us
It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first instalment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
I wonder what you really make of your Christian brothers and sisters. Honestly. Let me suggest that you find them mixed. You feel incredibly close to some of them and know that you could share anything with them. And then there are others who you find hard work. You just don’t easily see eye to eye with them. Their approach to life and the Lord is so different from yours. That was certainly Paul’s experience! The Corinthian Christians were very mixed. Some were his close friends and others were doing everything they could to destroy his ministry.
What I love about these verses is that Paul addresses the whole Church and celebrates the way in which God has blessed them – all of them. He is so gracious with his accusers and those who are trying to obstruct his ministry. He reminds them all that they are standing firm in Christ and can all be sure of God’s blessings in the future.
Paul speaks of the blessing of the Holy Spirit at work in every single believer. He says the Holy Spirit is like a seal of ownership upon them. Because they have received the Spirit, they can be absolutely sure that they belong to God. He tells them that the Holy Spirit is like a deposit, or down payment, which makes it absolutely certain that we will receive all of God’s future blessings.
It’s easy to understand that Paul would say all those things about the people that he really liked in Corinth. But he was affirming that they were God’s true words about every single Christian, including those who were giving him such a hard time. That’s grace, and I find that deeply moving.
How will you pray today for those Christians to whom you find it hardest to relate?
Thank you, loving Lord, that you are so generous and loving to every Christian, whether I get on well with them or not. Amen